Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dave Perry's Rules Quiz of the Week

Boats X and Y are sailing dead-downwind halfway down a run. X, whose boom is out over her port side, is clear astern of Y, whose boom is out over her starboard side.

X is blanketing Y’s wind and is catching up quickly. Neither boat has changed her course in the five or so lengths preceding the incident.

X finally catches up and her bow makes contact with Y’s transom. There is no damage or injury. Both protest each other.

You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Boat Y is penalized under rules 10, On Opposite Tacks, and 14, Avoiding Contact. X is on starboard tack and Y is on port tack (see the definition Tack, Starboard or Port). The right-of-way rule for two boats on opposite tacks is rule 10, “…a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.”

Y failed to keep clear and so breaks rule 10. Rule 12, On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped, pertaining to boats clear ahead and clear astern, applies only when the boats are on the same tack.

Regarding the collision, rule 14, Avoiding Contact, requires all boats to avoid contact when reasonably possible. Y could have avoided the contact by moving off of X’s course. So, Y breaks rule 14. And X could have avoided Y, but didn’t; therefore she breaks rule 14.

However, a right-of-way boat is exonerated (not penalized) for breaking rule 14 when the contact does not cause damage or injury (see rule 14(b)).

Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes highlights specific aspects of the racing rules in a fun format designed to help you become more familiar with The Racing Rules of Sailing. Increase your knowledge of the rules and your racing will improve. Purchase this publication today!

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